Religion Research Paper Sample
Different literature can provide different insights. Therefore, it would be useful to compare literature of a similar topic to see what perspectives it may provide. Religious literature is interesting to explore because it can be interpreted in so many ways. Further, religion is subjective to the follower since they can select and emphasize different texts that relates to them. Therefore, exploring “God’s Women” by Anna Howard Shaw and “On Job” by Gustavo Gutierrez with the Bible can show how ideas provoke change, provides greater depth, and helps us explore our identity. It can be argued that religion and its religious text is meant to be subjective to its follower and can be interpreted differently. This is because the Bible was written during a time where writing and vocally expressing yourself was done in a different fashion then we do today. Though, the core meaning of religion has stayed the same. Religion has offered cohesion, structure, and a sense of belonging. Often, when people are looking for these things, then relating Bible text to give them peace and comfort is easy to do. How religious text is delivered and emphasized can influence how followers feel about a certain topic. For example, women’s placement in “God’s Women” and suffering in “On Job.”
This is especially true for societies that have a large demographic that is religious, which can then influence how a society views a topic. In “God’s Women” by Anna Howard Shaw, she explores how people have approached women’s role in the Bible and how that relates to communities today. It was astonishing for her to see “how clear the definitions of men are in regard to women (131).” The interpretations of women ‘s role in the Bible are perceived differently by men and women. Not only does this show how different interpretations can arise (i.e. gender), but it also reveals that there are societal issues that need to be confronted. In the Bible, there is a devoted woman named Ruth. She is known to have said, “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay” (Ruth 1:16). This quotation indicates that Ruth is a loyal companion because she is willing to stay by Naomi’s side. Shaw uses the example of Ruth to explain how women should be viewed as God’s women. Further, she says, “Ruth had some peculiar ways of getting along with this world” (135). This is because of the way she tried to acquire husbands, which Bishops and other males might emphasize on the character of women. Though, her devotion should be emphasized. She also mentioned that “no divine… shall define women for the women of the twentieth century her right to be (132).” While the Bible has often been used as a means for peace, Shaw uses it to claim the identity on what it means to be a modern woman following God. This is because if “she was not God’s women, whose women was she (133).” Shaw not only uses the Bible as a way to provoke change, but she uses different Bible stories to help prove her point.
Another Bible woman, or God’s women, is Rachel. Rachel was a courageous woman and subservient to men. In the Bible, “Rachel is a Shepard” who tends to the sheep while other male shepherds lay about (Genesis 29:9). This emphasis the claim that Shaw is trying to make that there has always been an unfair division of labor for women and a lack of recognition for the work they do. Her work became instrumental for a reevaluation of what means to be a woman of God. Similarly, in “On Job,” by Gustavo Gutierrez, different interpretations are examined to understand the reasoning behind Job’s suffering, and why good people seem to suffer. Gutierrez uses the book of Job to explain its interpretations with his own. In the book of Job, a wealthy man and his family who has been blessed by God with different fortunes because “there is no one on Earth like him” (Job 1:8). God then says this to Satan, so Satan goes to test Job’s faith. This creates a series of unfortunate events to fall upon Job. The Bible seems to emphasize that people cannot love God without fearing him too. Also, they cannot praise him without expecting an award as well. Gutierrez believes the contrary and uses Job as “the vehicle of his own experience, will be his spokesmen” (1). Since there is the existence of Satan, then there is always the potential for greed, lust, and other sins. These pressures can easily influence humans, which are variable in their individual expressions. He mentions that the “poet intends to make a paradigm of him [Job] (4).” If Job is meant to be used a tool for teaching, then people can come to similar conclusions on what Job is supposed to teach us in the bible. However, the methods and thoughts we use to reach these conclusions will vary as it is seen with Gutierrez’s interpretations. One way that Gutierrez uses the Bible to explain that people can be selfless is by using quotations from Job’s friends.
The bible says that his friend stayed with him for seven days, but did not say anything to him because “they saw how much he was suffering” (Job 2:13). This can show how friends are willing to help one another when they are suffering. Gutierrez believes this helped develop a “deeper response on Job’s part, [and] the deeper understanding of his faith” (6). It would be easy for Job to take his suffering at face value and get lost in the muck of his suffering; however, his friends help give him different and brighter perspectives on his suffering. One of his friends, Elihu, has Job think about his suffering, injustice, and relate it to other sufferers. This helped him to “go out of himself and help other sufferers… [and] to find his way to God” (48). The Bible when used to analysis the purpose behind suffering, alongside a related text, helps to provide a greater depth and understanding of yourselves. Both authors use the Bible to explain and support their arguments. While the topics for each text is different, the use of the Bible is the same. They set up their argument, use explanations, and Bible quotations for support. Readers can expand their understanding of the Bible by looking at various primary texts that use and interpret the Bible in different ways. Further, how religious text is delivered and emphasized can influence how followers feel about a certain topic. “God’s Women,” by Shaw, helps to bring up valid points about women’s placement in a patriarchal world. Her ideas helped to spark change in an ongoing women’s social movement, and especially in the religious context. Then “On Job,” by Gutierrez, showed how analyzing human emotions (i.e. suffering) in related text with the Bible provided a greater depth and understanding of ourselves. Overall, these texts helped us to reevaluate our identity and our involvement in the world.